Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars as seen on Unique Sweets (channel 262 on Sky) and based on the Cooking Channel TV recipe (because I forgot to print out the recipe from The Galley Gourmet).

I made some slight changes to the recipe and I changed the quantities of the original recipe because I used a big baking tray and not just a little 8×8 square tin.  I also weighed most of my stuff, so here is the recipe how I made it:

For the crispy layer:

1 bag Organic Puffed Rice Cereal

170g caster sugar

About 6tbsp golden syrup

125g salted butter, melted

For the peanut butter layer:

2 bars of milk chocolate (I used Tesco Luxury Britannia Milk Chocolate 150g), coarsely chopped

½ bar of Green & Black Organic Cooking Chocolate (72% cocoa), coarsely chopped

2 jars smooth peanut butter (340g jars)

For the chocolate layer:

1.5 bars of Green & Black Organic Cooking Chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 dollop of golden syrup

125g salted butter

For the crispy crust layer: Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Line your baking tray with baking paper. If you cut it bigger you will have two “handles” to lift the finished crispy bar in one go out of your baking tray.

Into a small saucepan, pour 150 ml water. Gently add the sugar and golden syrup and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly,  stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, and then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a glass bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crispy crust layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator until the top layer hardens, about an hour.

For the chocolate icing: In a large glass bowl, combine the chocolate, golden syrup and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator until the topping hardens, about an hour.

Cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

The longer you leave them the softer the rice crispies get but it still tastes absolutely moorish!

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Double Chocolate Loaf

I came across this double chocolate loaf via foodgawker the other day (have you been on foodgawker yet? OH MY GOD, this is such a cool website, you HAVE to have a look… it’s foodporn, honestly!), anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I wanted to make some kind of chocolate cake and while I have some trusted recipes that always work out and always taste delicious I wanted something different…. So I stumbled across the recipe for a Double chocolate loaf by Mehan’s kitchen.

I had all the ingredients at home and followed the recipe exactly (even though I thought there was a lot of chocolate going in) and while I know that every oven is different I was a bit surprised that after an hour the cake was still liquid in the middle but the rest was baked all around. I added ten more minutes to it and then I took it out. I made a simple sour cream frosting and once it was all set I cut into my cake. The first slice was, mhm, a bit dry. Very chocolaty no less. The next few slices were fine, slightly over baked around the outsides and the chocolate pieces had melted into the batter but in some places it had gone hard. After the forth slice I encountered a big hole right in the middle.

I don’t know what went wrong. Oven temperature too high? Too low? Left it in too long?

The cake tasted delicious, dark and chocolaty and not too sweet and the sour cream frosting added a nice taste to it.

I think I will make this recipe again but this time I will blitz the chocolate to a coarse powder instead of cutting it in small chunks. Maybe I should have used chocolate chips? But I don’t like the chocolate chips you can buy in this country, I rather use a bar of Green & Black’s cooks chocolate bar and chop it up!

It’s bugging me when a cake goes wrong.

Waitrose Easy to Cook range

I spent too much time at the dentist yesterday and had no intenions of cooking, even though I had (still have) a big batch of minced meat in the fridge that needs to be turned into something delicious. I stopped at Waitrose on my way home and bought their  “Waitrose Easy deboned chicken with parmesan & tomato” from the Easy to Cook range.  On the back of the package it said “Succulent boneless British chicken gently marinated in olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, SunBlush® tomato, fresh rosemary & thyme”, which I thought sounded quite lovely.

It took 45 minutes in the oven and I served it with sauted leftover potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli. The chicken was indeed succulent, it tasted nice although I couldn’t really make out the sunblushed tomatoes other than that there was something red on the chicken skin which I gathered must have been the tomatoes. I was also a bit surprised to read that there was parmesan in it… no taste of it whatsoever.

It was £6.99, so definitely cheaper than getting a take-away but for £6.99 I could have bought a whole organic, free range chicken and I know I’d have leftovers for today from it. But I couldn’t have cooked a whole chicken in 45 minutes and I would have had to invest some time by cutting off excess fat and seasoning it and because all I wanted was to turn my oven on, open the door and shove the chicken inside I don’t regret having spent £6.99 on a dinner for two.

This was so much fun to make…

A few months ago I saw a Lego cake in my baking group on Facebook and it looked fabulous. If only I knew someone I could make that cake for, I thought. Fast forward a couple of weeks and Jim’s birthday was looming on the horizon. I asked his girlfriend what Jim likes (hoping she’s give me an idea for a present for him) and all she said was “Lego”. Me: “But he doesn’t eat cake, does he?”. Julie: “Oh, he loves chocolate cake”. Me: “Oh My God, yesssss, I can finally make this cake I’ve been wanting to make for months”.

The Lego cake looks more difficult to make than it actually is. I baked two chocolate cakes (Recipe from Barefoot Contessa) Friday afternoon and on Saturday I made the chocolate butter cream and started on assembling the cake. The butter cream frosting was seriously adult material though, dark and only slightly sweet and containing rum. For serious chocolate cake lovers! Using my trusty mat I rolled out the Royal Icing and covered the cake with it. I learnt from previous cakes not to roll out the icing too thin as otherwise you’ll get cracks in it after a while. I made the top bricks using an ice cube tray and the side bricks were simply rolled out coloured sugar paste. Yes, a plasterer would be appalled by how wonky some of the bricks are and they are not uniformly sized but who cares? It’s a cake! A homemade cake! It’s supposed to look homemade and not factory made!

I was very happy with the end result and so was Jim when I gave him the cake later that day.